The most successful social media brands use UGC (User Generated Content) in their ads. But what exactly are UGC ads, and how can you harness their potential to supercharge your marketing campaigns?
That’s what this resource is going to show you.
UGC can be a powerful move for enhancing brand engagement and trust. According to research, 83% of consumers want authentic shopping experiences. Another study found that 92% of users trust authentic UGC more than traditional ads.
What does this all mean?
The modern consumer prefers to see real people using products before they purchase.
Traditionally, UGC ads are advertising that incorporates content created by actual product or service users. They offer a raw, unfiltered, and authentic touch to the promotional narrative. They are often in the form of reviews and social media posts showcasing real-life experiences that aren’t scripted, which makes them highly relatable and trustworthy. However, the reality is UGC can also be scripted, using tactical methods of hiring influencers to produce authentic content.
Either way, this authenticity is a refreshing change and a powerful tool that can amplify engagement and conversions significantly.
It's evident that brands are embracing the UGC trend. You've probably noticed an uptick in UGC TikTok ads, UGC video ads, and much more.
Since most people research products before buying, UGC ads make perfect sense. Even more so if your brand's already collaborating with influencers or gathering customer content (e.g., reviews).
Some additional reasons brands are embracing UGC in droves include the following.
Every content piece by customers or creators provides impactful social validation that can improve business outcomes.
Here are some fantastic UGC ad campaign examples.
Coca-Cola printed popular names on its drinks and asked consumers to buy one with a friend's name and share it on social media platforms using the hashtag #ShareACoke.
The campaign was designed to foster a deeper bond between the brand and its audience while amplifying interaction and content sharing. They sold over 250 million named bottles upon release in Australia.
#ShareACoke quickly expanded to other countries thanks to its popularity among consumers.
The company encouraged people to share their athletic achievements on social media with the hashtag #PlayForTheWorld. They then shared the most inspiring stories, recognizing those achievements and creating a sense of community.
The campaign came right on time to address how the pandemic was affecting athletes across the globe. It celebrates the pursuit of sports excellence, addressing how athletes were still working hard despite staying indoors.
GoPro is encouraging customers to capture “rad” footage of things they love to do, share it with the company, and get selected for gifts. Rewards include free GoPro gear, cash, and social media features.
The brand has been running this campaign for a long time, as far back as 2010.
Calvin Klein introduced a social media campaign where customers can share their looks using the hashtag #mycalvins for a chance to be featured.
This was an ingenious way for the brand to stand out, especially since it's in a competitive market. The hashtag has garnered more than 870,000 posts on Instagram.
These are UGCs on social platforms where individuals share their experiences, photos, or thoughts about a product or brand—for example, user-led hashtag challenges with content around a specific theme.
Customer reviews provide firsthand insights into a product's performance and quality, which greatly influences buying decisions. A company can pull them from third-party review platforms like Yelp or their website and showcase them in ads.
These are detailed narratives that showcase the success story of your customer or client using a particular product or service. Highlighting real-world applications and results in your ads is a great way to offer proof of the product’s efficacy and value.
Sometimes, customers record themselves or write texts recommending a product to their network. You can use this type of content in your ads. Some brands incentivize this behavior with rewards or discounts.
Online platforms where users have discussions, ask questions, and share their experiences about products can become content for ads.
You can leverage user-generated online events or audio shows discussing specific topics. These content types often provide in-depth information for educational purposes. People typically release such content to position themselves as thought leaders in their space.
Using UGC in your advertising campaign may seem daunting due to its vast and distinctive nature. But it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Here's a quick step-by-step guide to simplify the process.
The first step is to gather the content you wish to use.
If you have a new brand or zero mentions (social mentions, forum discussions, etc.), you need to reach out to customers and influencers to create content.
For your customers, you could introduce a challenge to inspire them to create and share content. As for influencers, reach out to begin building relationships.
However, if you already have social mentions, use the following process.
You’ll most likely have to ask for permission to use UGC. So, it's vital to understand the legal nuances when repurposing UGC for ads.
As for the process, it’s simple. Just send your UGC permission request to obtain the creator's consent. This may involve having them sign a legal document. Consult with your legal team for the best steps.
To most people, the company is only offering a discount. However, they are also addressing the price objection immediately. Anyone who clicks the ad will know and be ready to pay.
In addition, be ethical. Refrain from editing the content in a way that misleads consumers. Honesty can boost the credibility of your campaign, fostering trust.
After obtaining the necessary permissions, it's time to infuse UGC into your ad strategy.
Consider your ad objectives so you can engage your audience using the most compelling UGC for best results. And remember to make use of ad management tools.
You can use each platform's ad manager to monitor performance and optimize UGC ads.
UGC ads are rapidly becoming a must in digital marketing. Leveraging them in your ads correctly can lead to the following results.
UGC instills a genuine touch to ads that magnify their potency. With real users recounting their brand experiences, it's modern-day word-of-mouth marketing.
Research suggests 71% of users prefer personalized ads over generic brand messages.
Credibility and trustworthiness are crucial in an age where purchasing decisions are swayed by social media content. The more authentic the brand, the more they stand out.
By leveraging unscripted UGC, you’re portraying your business through the lens of real users, which bolsters credibility and trust. In fact, a remarkable 92% of consumers trust UGC during purchase decisions.
Brands can achieve higher click-through rates and conversions by using UGC because of the increase in trust. For example, you're more likely to buy a product if someone made an unscripted, honest review about it online.
UGC ads also reduce the costs associated with content creation.
What better way to amplify engagement than by showcasing content about your product from real users? People usually trust the words of others more than they do a brand.
A great UGC campaign can turn customers into brand advocates who help your business attract new customers. It’s like putting marketing on autopilot.
As you can see, UGC ads can be very effective. It’s a shift towards more authentic advertising that can foster community, drive engagement, and build trust relatively quickly. And social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are fertile grounds for UGC ad campaigns.
These platforms have a massive, engaged audience that values authenticity, making them the perfect places to run your ads. They also facilitate the collection and integration of UGC.
However, the approach is crucial because done inadequately, UGC can become a problem for the brand. One example is what happened with McDonald’s #McDStories campaign.
The company had launched a Twitter campaign hoping to inspire heart-warming stories about Happy Meals. Instead, it attracted people who bashed the brand, turning the hashtag into a “bashtag.”
Finally, here are some bonus tips to consider whether you're making UGC video ads or plain text and image ads.
Leveraging UGC can deliver more engagement and conversion than traditional ads.
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